Travel advisory. Ignore travel advisory emails.

I have a travel wave coming up, some really interesting events, and some time in the silver tube.

I received this email in my inbox this morning. It made me angry, really angry.

The Netherlands is a stable and highly developed democracy and business travellers will face few security concerns. However, pickpocketing and bag-snatching can be a problem in the larger cities, especially Amsterdam (particularly in central and tourist-frequented areas and at Schiphol airport) and Rotterdam. Travellers should also be cautious of thieves riding bicycles and mopeds. Organised criminal activity is more likely to focus on fixed business interests, not personnel, and is unlikely to pose a direct threat to business travellers or expatriates. The country is a potential target for Islamist terrorism. Several suspected Islamist militants have been arrested in recent years, and other alleged Islamist plots have been uncovered. The risk of an attack remains comparable to many Western European countries. While environmental protests can target businesses, anti-corporate groups occasionally target international companies; such attacks tend to focus mostly on property and pose only an indirect threat to personnel.

  • There is a credible risk of terrorist attack by Islamist extremists in major cities in the Netherlands. Government buildings, public transport, high-profile commercial interests and military facilities are likely targets. Personnel are advised to be alert to suspicious packages or behaviour.

Issues of immigration and integration, particularly of Muslims, have been highly charged in recent years, with a number of high-profile incidents resulting, such as the murder of a prominent film-maker after he produced a film critical of Islam. Most protests are small and relatively orderly, though there is the potential for escalation into unrest if a new, highly sensitive issue emerges. Members are advised to avoid all demonstrations, even if they appear peaceful.

I’m also going to Florida, but I didn’t receive a travel advisory warning me about Koran burning extremist Christians, or suggest I avoid health clinics in case they are attacked by violent pro-lifer terrorists, never mind getting shot as part of a gang initiation ritual.

end of rant.


2 thoughts on “Travel advisory. Ignore travel advisory emails.”

  1. Travel advisories do come across as uniformly insane, but I have seen them for my travel to the US and I’ve been similarily bemused.

  2. And here are some examples from a travel advisory I got flying to the US:
    “…Crime levels are fairly low in commercial centres, but higher in low-income, inner-city areas where social tension, poverty and street gangs exist; … There is a persistent risk of terrorist attack by Islamist extremists in the US. Potential targets include landmark buildings, critical infrastructure points, transport networks and popular tourist attractions or commercial centres. Jewish and official Israeli interests are also a potential target. Be alert to suspicious behaviour and report any suspect packages to the authorities.
    Be aware there is also a low but credible risk of terrorist attack by domestic terrorist groups, including right-wing extremists and animal rights activists; these are unlikely to pose a direct risk to foreign personnel.
    Be aware of the risk of periodic bouts of racially motivated unrest in low-income areas of major cities, occasionally spreading into commercial and tourist districts. In the event of unrest, return to your accommodation and stay there until the situation stabilises. ”

    And my favorite:
    “The judiciary is known to be efficient, with judges and civil servants being fair and impartial. Bribery and other forms of corruption are rare, and the public maintains a high level of trust in the judicial system.”

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